The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
2 Peter 3:9
We live in such a fast moving society, don’t we? We’re likely experiencing that to its fullest right now during the Christmas season. Going shopping can be such a mad rush as we dash in and out of stores at a manic pace, wearing out our poor ATM cards, ever aware of the money we’re spending and the time we’re lacking to finish everything on time. The holiday’s really test our patience. We want things now, and if shopping isn’t our thing, Amazon Prime is right there to ship us what we need overnight. Amazon is, in fact, not slow to fulfill its promise of free shipping and overnight service. Unfortunately, this is how we count slowness. Something that doesn’t happen or arrive exactly as fast we desire it to. We don’t want Amazon to be patient toward us, as much as we usually don’t want God to be patient with anyone else but us.
But God is patient toward you. And them. If it’s in the heart of God to draw close to His hell-bound creatures, then it means He will be patient toward those whose paths have not yet been rerouted.
How do you count slowness when it comes to your view of how God acts in the affairs of men? If you were honest, could you say that you lack patience with God’s pacing? Are there people you’d like to see come to justice? Are there relationships you wish could be resolved? Are there loved ones long gone that you want to be reunited with? Are there family members far from God that you wish He would finally intervene and save?
By the way, none of those desires are wrong. We rightly desire justice, restored relationships, and lost friends to come to know God. What we need to remember is that God in His sovereignty has a particular purpose that He is unfolding with timing that we don’t have the mental capacity to understand. Why does God wait? We’re going to have to wait to know the answer to that question. What we do know is that the hand of God is only slow inasmuch as His heart is seeking to save the lost.
It’s waiting for the ultimate fulfillment of God’s promises that keeps us hoping for what we cannot see. We never hope for what we already have! We don’t need to have patience for something we’ve already received! God makes us wait for those very reasons, so that hope and patience produce a character that brings about the joy and happiness of Christ in us. God is not slow like we define slow. In the same way that you are able to wait for Christmas morning much better than a child because the waiting and anticipating is as much part of the joy as the receiving, God wants us to know a joy that can only come through a patient heart that is immersed in the surety of hope. He is not slow. But He is slowing us down to be more like His Son.
What are some things that have been hard for you to wait for this year? What might be some things God is teaching you through the waiting? How do you see His goodness in the waiting?